Medical Marijuana Advocate Michelle Rainey Dies From Cancer

Prince of Pot Marc Emery’s ex-business partner and blonde bombshell medical marijuana advocate, Michelle Rainey has died from cancer.

[Cannabis Culture Editor’s note: Michelle Rainey was one of the most hard-working, vibrant, and dedicated cannabis activists on the planet. She will be sorely missed by everyone in the Cannabis Culture family, and our hearts and thoughts go out to her loved ones in this time of grief. Thanks for all the wonderful work and great times Michelle; we will never forget you! Click here to read a post about Michelle written by Marc Emery on October 5]

She had lived with Crohn’s Disease since a teenager and in the last years of her life struggled against melanoma and lymphatic cancer.

Her husband Jef Tek and mother Emilie were at her side, each holding a hand, when she succumbed Wednesday night in spite of last-ditch, high-dosage experimental cannabis treatment.

The 39-year-old Rainey was the organizational force behind Emery’s pot-based business empire although their relationship deteriorated and they split after being hit with a 2005 U.S. drug-and-money-laundering indictment.

Producing her own show on YouTube titled Michelle’s Medicinal Marijuana, distributing cannabis education packages to those who in need and being a director for Treating Yourself Magazine, she was tenacious proselytizer for the plant and its therapeutic properties.

Rainey and Emery met in 1998 while he was living on the Sunshine Coast and she was working in a Gibsons’ bank. She quit work to become his partner.

Together they established the B.C. Marijuana Party and opened a bookstore-cum-pot HQ on West Hastings Street.

In the 2001 provincial election, theirs was the first political party in provincial history to field candidates in every riding — 79 in all. Rainey ran in Peace River South operating out of The Alaskan Hotel in Dawson Creek.

She managed to get U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s old campaign tour bus, nicknamed it the “Cannabus,” and toured the province with then-party leader Brian Taylor, now mayor of Grand Forks.

The party captured more than 50,000 votes — 3.2 per cent — all funded by Emery’s multi-million-dollar-a-year catalogue seed business.

She joked that she worked at Emery’s “beck and call” — be it lining up candidates, coordinated seed-smuggling trips by pretty women back-and-forth to Europe or storing up to 40 pounds of pot for the parties.

Their economic success and celebrity, however, attracted the attention of the American drug warriors and they were busted.

She and a third co-accused, Greg Williams, pleaded guilty in April and were sentenced to two years’ probation; last month Emery began serving a five-year prison term in the U.S.

“Michelle needs to be recognized as one of the greatest activists this movement has ever had,” he said via an e-mail from jail.

“Michelle may have literally given her life to the movement, and when people think about what they can do for freedom in their lifetime, Michelle’s life is a shining example of how much is possible, even under great duress.”

In the early 1990s, Rainey began smoking marijuana in place of a daily regimen of pharmaceutical drugs she was taking to relieve the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. She said cannabis did not trigger the same debilitating side effects as the pills.

After meeting Emery, she came out of the closet about her use and in recent years became Canada’s most recognizable medical pot crusader.

Her advocacy brought her into contact with numerous high-profile Canadians and she relished talking about rubbing shoulders with celebrities such as Romeo Dallaire, Henry Morgentaler, Wade Davis.

Media mogul Moses Znaimer, who made Rainey a regular at his celebrated annual ideaCity conference, flew to Vancouver to say good-bye. Her pal Dan Aykroyd telephoned his last so-long earlier in the day Wednesday.

She was greatly loved and will be hugely missed.

“I want people to keep working, keep working for change – too many sick people are still having difficulty getting their medication,” Rainey recently said.

“That’s what I want as my legacy — change.”

Sadly, she did not live to see the historic marijuana legalization vote that will occur in California on Nov. 2.

She predicted: “Change is gong to come.”

– Article from The Vancouver Sun.

Please visit Michelle’s website and read her inspiring stories, then view her educational and inspirational videos on her YouTube account.
She is terribly missed by everyone at Cannabis Culture and throughout the community.

This video was made by Jodie Emery as a tribute to Michelle. Please share.

Medicinal marijuana advocate loses battle with cancer

By Monisha Martins – Maple Ridge News
October 21, 2010

Medical marijuana advocate Michelle Rainey died Wednesday night from cancer, which she had been battling for more than a year.

The 39-year-old passed away at her home in Maple Ridge with her husband, Jeff Tek, and her mother Emilie at her side.

“The drug and peace movement has lost a warrior,” said her friend and fellow activist David Malmo-Levine.

Marc and Michelle, 2005Marc and Michelle, 2005Rainey was receiving high doses of an experimental tumour-fighting cannabis treatment to fight melanoma and lymphatic cancer when she died.

“While the treatment didn’t save her,” Malmo-Levine said. “There is important information that needs to be looked at.”

Diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease at 17, Rainey was in the middle of a successful 10-year banking career when she had to undergo two surgeries to remove damaged parts of her bowel.

For years, a cocktail of prescription drugs failed to curb the disease’s symptoms, so she tried marijuana to relieve her nausea.

It worked and she was able to wean herself off every prescribed medication.

Rainey joined the marijuana movement in the late 1990s after meeting self-proclaimed Prince of Pot Marc Emery while working at a bank in Gibsons.

Together, they started the B.C. Marijuana Party and she helped Emery run his multi-million dollar cannabis seed business.

In a statement posted on earlier this month by Emery, he wrote: “Considering the considerable pain her health has given her, she was heroic in so many ways and represented the movement with class and clout.”

Rainey was his “teammate”, the person who made sure his employees were paid, “marijuana seeds were shipped on time, the producers paid and happy, the media fully informed, Pot-TV running smoothly.”

Rainey and Emery’s relationship soured after they and Greg Williams were indicted in the U.S. on charges of growing marijuana, conspiracy, seed sales and money laundering.

In July 2009, Rainey and Williams were sentenced to two years probation in Canada. Emery decided to sign a plea deal for a five-year sentence, which he is currently serving in a U.S. federal prison.

In Maple Ridge, Rainey was an articulate and vocal advocate for the medicinal marijuana movement, speaking out recently in support of marijuana dispensary and against a bylaw to prevent medical grow operations in Pitt Meadows.

She was at the helm of an alternative medicine journal, Treating Yourself Magazine, and helped many navigate the maze to get a medical marijuana exemptions from Health Canada.

Emery wrote: “She was an engine for great change in the world, committing money, her health, and her whole soul into this great movement that is forever in debt to her.”

A memorial for Rainey is being planned.

– Article from Maple Ridge News.



  1. Pingback: Michelle Rainey died – Cannabis in Canada The Illustrated History by Dana Larsen

  2. Anonymouse on

    Firstly, to all those who know about the benefits of Cannabis i say “Irony(musically”. But seriously, i offer my condolences to a fallen Infowarrior. For everyone that falls, two more shall rise in their place until truth is ultimately victorius. Peace and Love

  3. D on

    I am in complete shock and have been crying all day since learning of this horrible news. I wish I had not taken a break from the net for the last year and had known about this when it happened so that I could have at least sent some flowers, however Michelle was so influential in my life that I would have flown all the way to Vancouver from Australia to attend her Memorial, I am so sorry I missed it.

    Michelle was a good friend of mine when I lived in Vancouver, we worked together and socialised at the British Columbia Marijuana Party, she was one of the most amazing and wonderful people I had ever met. You would never know she had cancer as she was always so full of energy, passion, enthusiasm and fighting the good fight. Without her the BCMP and the cannabis legalization scene in Vancouver in general would not have existed as well as it did or made as many hurdles. One thing I always noticed about her was that no matter how tired, over-worked or sick from her cancer she was always dressed up to the nines with her hair done up and makeup on like she was going to a fancy event, always ready to present her self on camera and look like a sexy, confidant and powerful woman. She always maintained a glow about her that shown through her exuberant eyes and shining smile from her trade mark red lips. When you were around Michelle you just felt good and when you knew she was organizing and handling an event, party, press conference, rally or anything that it would go off without a hitch and be professional.

    I am definitely going to be spending a lot of time thinking about how much I miss her. I feel really bad that the last time I was in Vancouver that I had not been able to meet up with her, I tried, but we were never at the same place at the same time and now we never will be. I still can’t get over the fact that our last time togeather was our last.

    I only have one photo of us togeather from a halloween party at the BCMP, but I know there are more photos out there, I hope I can find them, so that I can always have a little memorial to her here.

    She did give me as a gift, a beautiful storage box with hundred of hand cut, polished and inlaid decorative stones completely covering it, it is just beautiful and I have always treasured it as a gift from her, my good friend, and I will treasure it even more forever now.

    Goodbye Michelle *hug*

    I am cross posting this to the various articles about Michelle’s passing, hope that does not bother anyone, I just feel so bad upon hearing this that I want to post everywhere.

  4. Anonymous on

    There is only one cure for everything. Christ Jesus, God bless and comfort the families and friends.

  5. Al on

    I met Michelle and she was a very nice person. She took out one of her cigarsize joints from her sucrets can and sparked that shit up! Her warm smile and calm voice made me like her even more. She was with Marc that night and we were celebrating. There will never be another person as great as she. Thanks Michelle for being there for us; you did good!

  6. Spanner McNeil on

    Michelle: When I was at Marc’s Sunshine Coast digs she was really nice to me. She was frank and a problem solver. She made so much effort to be the mother and glue giving support to what was around her. Whether it was the dog, a visitor or an idea – she was there. She had time to sit on the couch with me and talk. She went way out of her way when it was discovered I was a meat eater in a vegetarian house, managing to gather some after hours pepperoni sticks from who knows where. Her concern for Marc and crew was real and clear and genuine. I will miss her future and be glad for her past. She does deserve honour.

  7. Brane Damidge on

    Life is a bitch, but death is a mother fucker…especially when your taken in the prime of life. Sorrow for the loss of someone who lived life thier way and the loved ones she leaves behind…stay strong….much respect to you.

  8. str8upstoner420 on

    Yes you can apply for Furlough but they usually only do it when an immediate family member dies and even then it’s hard and then there’s the cost all of which is on the inmates family seeing as they charge for the cost of the trip and for guards to supervise the inmates.

  9. Anonymous on

    I thought that was something they all agreed to? Marc called her ‘one of the best activists ever’ in a statement recently

  10. Chris on

    RIP Michelle

    gone but not forgotten

  11. Anonymous on

    …but this is the only blog I can make comments on. Delete it if you want but I just saw on the news that Canada has agreed to transfer convicted killer Omar Khadr here from the US to serve his sentence. Is Marc Emery worse than Omar Khadr? I don’t think so. Also, have you noticed that Ignatieff has undergone a personality change. In his first town hall meeting last week he was talking about the differences between the Liberals and the Conservatives and is apparently trying to be a man of the people. I guess my email to him had a positive effect, saying congrats on finally doing something to differentiate himself from Harper by trying to get mj decriminalized. Now it’s all about differentiation. The town hall meeting was great too. I watched the whole thing on the politics channel. I think he could be the next PM if he keeps it up. I’m going to write him another email telling him how happy I am about the new Iggy. Please support and encourage him, everybody, so we can get rid of Darth Harper. I think he could be persuaded to reorganize the medical mj program so it actually works.

    PS; RIP Michelle

  12. Sparkky McPuff on

    Don’t take my comment to be hateful and uncompassionate. I am just doing what I have been doing for my whole life. Trying to find the truth.

    From my experience, there are propagandists from both sides of this issue and I am trying to filter what appears to be nonsense from the wisps of truth diluted in the river of lies.

    Where is Rick Simpson? In exile in the UK? I have been following his claim since December 2009, and while I don’t deny what he claims as truth, I don’t see any proof that Cannabis cures Cancer. Take for instance, his skin cancer claim. “I just applied it to my cancer and it was gone in two weeks.” Where is his proof? A couple of grainy pictures isn’t evidence of anything. If what Rick claimed was true, where are all of the survivors that he helped? Where are their calls to the government to exonerate Simpson of any wrongdoings? Where is their documented evidence that the Cannabis cured them, or at least played a part in their healing? All I hear are excuses as to why they don’t speak up from people who don’t even know any of Simpson’s patients.

    He can’t even update his own website with current news or studies. You would think that one person from one family of one patient of the (claimed) hundreds or thousands that he helped heal would have brought more attention to this issue, or at least an updated blog on Ricks website.

    I do disagree with the drugwar. I think people should be allowed to cultivate and use hemp in any form or amount they want. I don’t see any evidence or believe any propaganda that Cannabis does any harm to anyone or anything, and I believe that Cannabis has the ability to enrich the lives of anyone that partakes in it.

    Still, from my research and experience, I don’t see 100% believable evidence that Simpson’s claims are true and someone like Michelle, with many contacts and resources and knowledge on this fragile issue, should have some documented results on whether Cannabis improves or diminishes or has little to no effect on the health of a Cancer or diabetes patient. (Someone “like” Michelle, not specifically saying she should be doing all this documenting as I am sure that she had a stressful enough life that I wouldn’t expect her specifically to guinea pig herself to unfounded science. That being said show me and the rest of the world one example where Rick Simpson’s case is, in fact, provable.)

    I usually like to keep my comments short and to the point, which is what I tried to do with my last point, just to start a discussion on the subject as all I have for research is a keyboard and google, and it is just as difficult to find any actual fact on the internet as it is on any other form of media, including tv and newspapers. Honestly, I have recently realized that even CC .com is a propagandist website (on the good side thankfully) but none-the-less there are many half truths on here as well.

    My deepest regrets if I had offended Michelle and her family from my earlier comment. I am sorry for your loss.

    “Giving people false hopes is just as evil and oppressive as a tyrannical regime” -Sparkky McPuff

    For the sake of the globe and all the people that live on it, I pray that there is a magical plant that will save us all from extinction and/or oppression.

    Can we not just have a government that stays out of our business? I am not a child, I can think for myself. I don’t need to ask for permission to engage in a lawful activity. You cannot get a license for an unlawful activity.

  13. Anonymous on

    Odd how she died shortly after Marc Emery, whom she provided testimony against to the US authorities, was sentenced and shortly before he will be moved to the actual penitentiary. A karma thing, perhaps? Not speaking ill of the departed, I’m sure he would have been convicted anyway, still pretty weird though. Greg must be a little nervous now.

  14. Anonymous on

    My condolences to all who knew her. She was a very strong part of the marijuana movement and will be missed by many. Someday there will be justice and rational behind our laws…

  15. Anonymous on

    Its sad to know that if governments would stop this insane law, there may have been treatments derived from cannabis by now….this and many millions of other cancer related deaths may not have had to happen.

    My condolances to all.

  16. foam on

    Ugh this terrible – I feel for her great Mom and Jeff..

  17. greg williams on


    We only had the chance to admire your courage and strengths from afar, and believe me, we did. I will never forget you. Say ” hello” to Jack Herer and Peter McWilliams for us. I’m sure they are greeting you with hugs.

    I really am too sad to make any further comments at this time.

    peace, love, anarchy
    greg williams
    san francisco california

  18. Anonymous on

    Like in the movie blow which is a true story George Jung was able to apply for a furlough to be out of jail to see his father and stay with him till his death and funeral before returning although Marc isnt family It may be possible for him to receive a furlough to be at her funeral and at the very least if he was refused it would be one more Strike in Michelles favour towards the change she wanted as it would show how heartless the Us govt has become if they prevent a non violent offender who has never shown any sign of being a flight risk from attending the funeral of a close friend.

  19. Michael on

    Come off it with the religious rant hey. It is not OBVIOUS that people have a soul. No offence dude but don’t become a preacher.

    In regards to this event- it is tragic.

    Its very interesting that she dried a megadose of cannabis, that is probably what I would try also. I’d eat 3 OZ a day in pot brownies.

  20. Dave on

    Was she eating it? I’d actually messaged her on numerous times telling her about the oil and how she should eat it. One time she responding saying thank you but I never saw a response from her indicating that that’s what she was doing. Except for one time more recently I think I did. Others were telling her as well. I’m just curious and would like to know, if she was following the protocol recommended by Rick Simpson and using it as a primary treatment. I’m not sure that the person who wrote this comment was even being facetious. Even if they were, I’m not

  21. Anonymous on

    R.I.P Michelle!
    I also was suffering with crohns, and the side effects of the meds until I read your story. Now med free other then the cannabis. My thoughts are with you always and Thank You!

  22. Anonymous on


  23. Anonymous on

    Smoking it won’t stop the cancer. You have to eat the oil everyday.

  24. Podders on

    The cannabis life is bittersweet, it’s bitter at the moment, I’m very sad, condolences, P.

  25. josht45 on

    I was lucky enough to have met her during the Tokers Bowl, and we kept in touch after. She was a badass who got things done and made people feel welcome, and she looked you straight in the eye when she spoke to you. The movement has lost a true warrior. I will miss Michelle a great deal, and send love and best wishes to Jef and her family.

  26. darkcycle on

    Goodby, Medicinal Michelle, you will be missed and thank you for all you have done. Jef-Tek, Peace and love, and my condolances, Bro. I’ll lift a bubblin’ chalice for you both.

  27. covey69 on

    My heart breaks my heart aches, we lost yet another warrior in this War against Humanity.
    I’m so sorry for all those who have to go on without the shoulder to lean on of this Great Woman.

  28. Anonymous on

    Although the actual process of dying is unpleasant I don’t know why everybody sees death as a sad event. Is life in a physical body all that great? No, not at all. We’re all slaves to our own bodies, either we keep feeding it (usually involving killing some other life form) and maintaining it in other ways or we’re punished by hunger and pain. Right now Michelle is free from the body that tormented her since youth. It’s obvious that the soul lives on after the death of the body, way too much evidence of that for it not to be true. I say farewell Michelle Rainey. I wish I was where she is now (assuming she wasn’t a secret axe murderer) but apparently my sentence isn’t over yet and I must endure more years of toil in prison Earth. I am happy for you, Michelle. Congrats on your early release and thanks for your good works while you were here.

  29. Dale allo on

    Love, always.

  30. BCBUDMAN on

    R.I.P Michelle Rainey

  31. cpt. cronic. on

    my heart is heavey with the loss of a person who inspered myself an many others to pic up the fight. to michelle’s family my deepest heart felt to michelle be at peace you have earned it.

  32. Rev. Mike on

    I am so sorry JefTek. Every thing is in Gods hands especially Michelle. I know Herer, Rainey, and Marley are all smoking Gods stash, helping us all from Heaven. Stay strong and never quit.

  33. Beatnuck on

    The pharmaceutical drugs Michelle was taking for Crohn’s disease did not cure her. Should we therefore make those drugs illegal? Neither were any other pharmaceutical drugs available that would cure her cancer. Should we therefore make all anti-cancer drugs illegal because they don’t cure everybody? Marijuana is a drug that relieves human suffering with the least side effects. Nobody ever said it will prevent you from dying. But it will help prevent cancer victims in chemo from dying from starvation because it stimulates appetite.

    Once marijuana is accepted as the number one recreational drug, alcohol will be re-criminalized and it will be the alcoholics, not the pot smokers, who fill America’s jails. This is why the mean-spirited alcoholic posters are so full of vitriol. They’re running scared — and they should be. Don’t let Michelle’s memory be tarnished by negative comments. Take it the opposite way — as proof we’re winning!

  34. Anonymous on

    yeah dude. It doesnt cure over night. its a process. During that process, it helps relieve pain and symptoms that come along with the cancer. Stops the effects, Makes you eat, Stops the burning, Slows tumor growth, Stops your body from doing uncontrolled movements. helps people speak better that are not capable of doing that because of their disease. She was put on this earth to spread the word about cannabis and she did her best. She wants to help and let people know the truth.

  35. Anonymous on

    Rest in peace michelle. i always watched her videos and speeches and shocked to see she has passed away. its sad. Now shes rolling a fatty with jack herer waiting for this world to legalize.

  36. The Spleen on

    Why would you choose to write such a comment below an article dedicated to the life of a dedicated, caring activist? What a sad, ignorant little creature you must be to engage in such slimy, underhanded tactics.

    It’s also pretty clear that you don’t really understand the science behind the Endo-Cannabinoid System and it’s relationship to the immune system. I doubt you have read the very real laboratory studies undertaken by Dr. Manuel Guzman at the University of Madrid or the pioneering work of Dr. Bob Melamede, former chair of the Biology dept at the university of Colorado in Colorado Springs and CEO of Cannabis Science Inc. As a matter of fact I seriously doubt if you read much of anything at all.

  37. Sparkky McPuff on

    so using cannabis doesn’t cure cancer? Rick, What happened here?

  38. Josh on

    Thats horrible news and such a shame, RIP Michelle.

  39. Worm on

    So sad for this news.

    Peace to all.

  40. Big Baby Jesus on

    Well I thought when I read about Marc going to jail that was the worst news I had seen on this site, now this, I stand corrected. I never met Michelle, but she seemed like a really sweet lady, and I admired her strength. 39 is so young. I think one of the worst parts is, Marc being in jail right now. I know damned good and well he wants to go to her funeral and can’t. I know the exact same feeling unfortunately. I was incarcerated while my grandma was dying of cancer and got out just in time to go to her funeral, but we spent no time together while she was ill. The guilt is overwhelming. I hope she was right, and prop 19 passes. If not, she was still right, and time will vindicate her efforts, I have no doubt.

  41. craig on

    This is horrible; I didn’t see it coming, and its hit me like a baseball bat.

    I’d like to think she’s got herself a front row seat, with Jack Herer, to watch the fall of cannabis prohibition…change IS coming.

    Thanks for all your hard work, Michelle! Lost but not forgotten!

    My thoughts are with Jef Tek, the Rainey family and the folks at CC. Keep your heads up.

    Craig, North Carolina

  42. Northeast USA on

    I am so very sorry to read this news. I send my most sincere condolences to Michelle’s family. We the people who see hypocrisy in the failed drug war have lost one of our very best.

  43. Anonymous on

    R.I.P <3

  44. Dan Pope on

    This is indeed very sad news. Having faced melanoma myself this hits very close to home. I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle shortly after the DEA seed bust for which Marc is now serving time. She was very friendly and helped to make my visit to Vancouver very memorable. Her hard work, boundless energy and commitment to the medical marijuana movement set an example for all of us to follow. She will be missed. My condolences to her family and all of the Cannabis Culture family.

    Dan Pope

  45. Michael Tripper on

    I wish everyone in Van mourning well.

    Jeftek be strong and my sincerest condolences.

  46. Anonymous on

    New to many sites. Read this story. My sympathy. I pray she is right!

  47. Travois on


  48. Anonymous on

    Although I’ve never met Michelle, her activism and passion for the cannabis culture positively impacted my life. She was a bright star of the cannabis legalization movement, and she will not be forgotten.

    Godspeed, Michelle.



  49. Anonymous on

    I’m sorry to hear about the eventual outcome of Michelle’s unfortunate fight with these Cancer’s, I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this but I guess in the end it was inevitable.

    Michelle was a good women with good views. I never met her personally, but from her activism I can see this. I really hope Prop 19 passes in California, it’s time. The War on Drugs is an utter failure. Prohibition needs to end; Regulate, Medicate, Educate.

    R.I.P. Michelle

  50. wallmandummy on

    Michelle’s work will live on for a long long time. my heart goes out to her and all her loved ones